Recently, a Level III grievance related to charges of institutional racism within our district was considered by our Aledo ISD Board of Trustees. The majority finding of Trustees acted to support not only the actions of central administration at Level II of the grievance process, but also, and much more importantly, supported the actions of campus administration and campus staff at Level I.
I believe we can all agree racism and bigotry still exists in our country. I also believe we live in a better society than existed just a few decades ago. There is no doubt as long as there are small-minded people, there will be small-minded beliefs, based not on understanding, but on bias and bigotry. That being said, there are some facts, not allegations, you should know about our district as you compare and contrast them effectively to formulate your own opinion going forward.
During the investigation of the recent complaint, the District reviewed discipline data related to racial incidents across Aledo ISD over the course of the last three years. This review yielded the following facts:
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▪ There are currently 5,172 children enrolled in Aledo ISD.
▪ In 2013-2014 there were 11 race related discipline incidents out of 284 total discipline incidents for the District, 3.8%; 6 of 9 campuses had no race related incidents.
▪ In 2014-2015 there were 10 race related discipline incidents out of 367 total discipline incidents for the District, 2.7%; 4 of 9 campuses had no race related incidents.
▪ To date, in 2015-2016 there have been 11 race related discipline incidents; 5 of 9 campuses have reported no race related incidents.
The racial slur referenced in a recent newspaper article was not written on a school wall. It was written on the inside of a stall in the intermediate school’s boy’s bathroom along with a number of other graphic words and images. There is no evidence the writings were directed to any particular child. When this act of vandalism was reported to the campus administration, the graffiti was digitally documented, immediately removed and the staff implemented several actions to keep this act from reoccurring.
The District will undergo a professional development focus next year on diversity and acceptance. All employees, including me, will participate. This training will be folded into the professional development schedule with the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. I firmly believe it will be embraced by staff because it is good for all students. That is what the Bearcat Nation is all about.
I will take an administrative plan of action to our Board at a regularly scheduled meeting on April 18th. This plan will ask the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), a committee comprised of 26 voting members, 15 of whom are parents in AISD and 2 are students, to review the numerous programs currently in place K-12 that address acceptance and diversity. The SHAC members will then work toward developing a diversity plan for Trustee consideration. This plan will guide our efforts going forward as our District continues to grow and becomes more and more diverse.
Our employees are committed to the Aledo ISD Core Values as a guide to their work, decisions and interpersonal relationships. The District’s core values that address diversity and acceptance are:
▪ Put students first
▪ Accept responsibility for my duties and actions
▪ Seek first to understand before taking action
▪ Stay committed to learning and growing in my profession
▪ Be customer service oriented
▪ Treat others as you would want to be treated
In the strongest terms possible, I encourage any and all parents to involve the District as partners when an event occurs in which a child does not feel safe or respected. These situations will never, ever be tolerated by any staff member or me. In my time in our District, I have found the Bearcat staff to be a kind, professional and student-centered team. I have seen them rally and support students and families in all manner of situations. I’m proud of the job done by our staff and celebrate the wonderful things they do daily as they work with your children.
Moving forward together,
Dr. Derek Citty,